KeywordsCritical Race Theory
Medical School Admissions
AdvisorMilem, Jeffrey F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe United States is a nation of peoples with highly stratified degrees of healthcare access and coverage, including many individuals with none at all. Exacerbating the problem of widespread health disparities is a persistent shortage of physicians over recent decades. Of most urgency is the need for doctors within already underserved minority communities. Extant research demonstrates that a more racially diverse student body can effectively address the nation's physician shortage and gross health disparities. Yet, the pool of future physicians of color relative to the increasingly racially diverse U.S. population remains incongruent. For medical school admissions committees, this is a formidable challenge, made ever more difficult by legal affronts to affirmative action in postsecondary admissions. Accordingly, the "disadvantaged status" prompt was inserted into the U.S. medical school application as a race-neutral mechanism with potential to help cull a more racially diverse medical student body. This project addresses the interface of minorities with the "disadvantaged status" essay, as there is a relative paucity of literature on the point of entry to medical school, particularly exploring the voices of applicants of color. Utilizing a Critical Race Theory (CRT) framework, this study expands the existing literature involving: (a) the history of minorities in U.S. medical school and the medical community's response to the stark and persistent absence of diversity among medical students and practitioners; (b) affirmative action in higher education and the race-neutral admissions trend; and (c) the enduring construct of "disadvantage" in regard to minorities within the U.S. education system.
Degree ProgramGraduate College